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What Is Specialized Foster Care?

Children in foster care come from a variety of different backgrounds and circumstances, and as such, each of them has a unique set of needs. In 2006, a report published jointly by Children's Rights and United Cerebral Palsy estimated that of the 500,000 children in the foster care system, at least a third of them (more than 150,000) had disabilities. Often, their needs exceed the level of care that is usually provided in a traditional foster setting. Consequently, these children are often placed in specialized foster care settings.

Who Benefits From Specialized Foster Care?

Children in specialized foster care usually have special needs caused by medical, emotional, or behavioral disorders. This might include (but is not limited to) children with the following conditions:

  • Intellectual or developmental disorders
  • Autism
  • Chronic health conditions or injuries
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Disordered mental health
  • Behavioral and/or emotional issues caused by abuse or other forms of trauma

What Does Specialized Foster Care Look Like?

Just as each individual is unique, each specialized foster care setting will be unique. Foster parents of children with disabilities have usually undergone additional training to ensure that they are equipped to care for and advocate for the child who is placed with them. Additionally, these families are usually assigned a case manager or social worker who provides direct support and connects the parents and child with any necessary resources.

The Impact of Specialized Foster Care

Without proper care, children in the foster system with disabilities may be at a higher risk for instability, homelessness, maltreatment, and institutionalization. For these individuals, being placed in a specialized foster care home with foster parents who can provide a safe, stable home can make all the difference—both now and in the future.

Envision Unlimited is very proud to provide specialized foster care to individuals in the Chicago area. We are dedicated to helping people with disabilities live happy, productive lives and have fulfilled that mission since 1948. We also offer day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; mental health, residential, and employment services; and an accredited program for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for children. These programs are designed to address the unique needs of each of our clients—regardless of age, background, or ability.

Our services are grounded in a spirit of advocacy, empathy, and empowerment. We believe that all individuals are capable of living successful lives if given the right opportunities. Contact us today to see how we can help you!